A Leavenworth woman loses nearly $100,000 in a celebrity scam

Leavenworth, Kansas – A Leavenworth County woman lost $94,000 in a high-profile scam involving people living outside the United States.

The fraud investigation concluded without any criminal charges being filed.

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Leavenworth County District Attorney Todd Thompson issued a scam warning to prevent others from falling victim to similar schemes.

“This is an unfortunate situation where an innocent woman is unintentionally taken advantage of,” Thompson said. “We’d love to pursue charges, but these online scams are rarely solvable, and one of the most difficult cases to prove because the scammers can be anywhere in the world.”

The victim told investigators that someone claiming to be country music singer Neil McCoy convinced her to send her cryptocurrency, cash, mobile phones, passwords, gift card account numbers, and proceeds from the sale of an old car.

The victim said she met McCoy on a dating site in August 2021.

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The victim eventually sent the scammers her personal information and new mobile phones with active lines. When the scammers received her information, they changed her account passwords and created new credit card accounts.

Thompson said the victim went so far as to attend a concert and contact McCoy’s real employees and contact them before discovering the scam. The victim said she had difficulty realizing the fraud.

This “catfish” scam is similar to the story of a Kentucky woman who said she was scammed by someone who convinced her to send her $10,000 gift cards.

The Kentucky woman claimed she thought she was sending gift cards to an actor who starred in the Netflix series Stranger Things.

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Thompson offered these tips to help avoid being scammed:

  • Be suspicious if someone contacts you that you don’t already know

  • Be wary if someone only interacts with you through text and email

  • Avoid providing personal information to someone you do not know

  • Never send money to anyone – including gift cards

  • Know that you are in control of your online communications

  • If you must meet, do so in a safe public place and tell someone where you are

  • Ask the police, your bank, your family or friends for help if you think you are being scammed

  • Double check email addresses when receiving emails and before clicking on any links

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